Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. (Psalm 86:11)
A new day, a new year begins with the reminder from the psalmist to desire God’s instruction so I can walk in truth — with a solitary motivation of reverence for His name and the desire to put His glory above everything else.
This sobers my thoughts. Normally I am like most people at the beginning of a new year. I want to set goals, do better, lose weight, be more organized, accomplish much, and purge my possessions. God does not slap down those goals; He merely shifts my mind to His perspective. He says I am to listen to Him, not going the way of the world and definitely the way of sinful people, but seeking His counsel in all things . . .
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalm 1:1–6)
Why do this? My goals, however profitable they might be or however good they might look on my resume, they are not going to fit into the eternity bin. Only that which comes from the mind and heart of God will last forever. The rest of it blows away like chaff in the wind.
Besides, my decisions and to-do list might be good for some things, but I’ve little guarantee that I’ll get them done. Yesterday was filled with plans and none of them happened. God had other ideas. If I want the work of my hands and the plans I make to last, they need to be His plans. He says:
“Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose’ . . . . I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.” (Isaiah 46:9–11)
His way, His counsel, is designed for His realm — eternity. My ‘stuff’ is about here and now, mostly the foreseeable future, not the rest of time and on into forever. This is why God bids me to be taught by Him, to walk in His truth, to have a heart united to glorify Him.
Jesus, teach me to trust in You with all my heart, and not lean on my own understanding. This year, set my heart so that in all my ways I will acknowledge You — because only then will You make straight my paths. (Proverbs 3:5–6)